Is this an unrealistic expectation?

FauxLiz

Sponsor
I am having a really rough week and I reached out to my T to see if he had any openings and would be available for an additional session. This is not something I do often and in nearly 3 years of working together have done so less than a handful of times. I understand that he didn't have an opening, I get that, what bothers me and I know I shouldn't compare but my old T that I worked with for 4 years before I moved would reach out and check on me if I asked for an extra session and he couldn't accomodate me. I feel as though it would be a simple thing to do, pick up the phone and make sure that I am not in a situation/frame of mind that is an absolute crisis. I know he is not a "crisis therapist" what ever that means but for all the claims of care and concern for my well being it is difficult to match the words to actions.

Was my old T the exception? Does anyone else have/had a T that would reach out if they couldn't accomodate an extra session? I know that this isn't a reason to end our work together I am just sad and hurting, depressed and struggling and as much as this site helps me the real world connection just a minute of his time would mean so much.
 

internal

Sponsor
it's unrealistic as an expectation, if you haven't previously established that this is some thing that you are both comfertable with.

as far as i under stand it the default for most therepists is not to reach out between sessions-my therepists as a kid never did. my current t will reply to emails but she only scedules extra sessions if we have previously agreed to it and there is a purpose for doing so. (i had 2, one for testing and one that my husband attended.)

otherwise she doesn't "check in" or any thing. when i was in crisis i reached out to her via email and i was directed to the hospitel. my therepist has a lot on her plate (with me alone) that i don't feel comfertable expecting her to manage me when i'm not in her office let alone when i am.

how ever i am sorry that you are currently hurting and struggling-i would defenetly recommend communecating with your therepist about this topic and come up with a plan for contact in between sessions that works for the both of you.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
From what I've seen here on the forum, that's something that varies a lot. I've never tried to schedule an extra appointment, but there have been a few times when I was traveling and couldn't make an appointment and my T checked in by email fairly often. Not something I expected (in fact it kind of surprised me) and not a big deal, just kind of a running conversation like you might have with someone else. Otherwise, sometimes I get a reply to stuff, most of the time really, but sometimes I don't. I think, mostly, it reflects how much time he has. Maybe also how much desperation he senses? LOL
I am just sad and hurting, depressed and struggling and as much as this site helps me the real world connection just a minute of his time would mean so much.
That seems totally legitimate. Maybe it would be worthwhile talking to him about ways to meet that need, if and when it comes up?
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
it's unrealistic as an expectation, if you haven't previously established that this is some thing that you are both comfertable with.
@grief as much as this was not the answer I was hoping to get your comment hit home. It is not something that I have considered in terms of comfort for him. I get the need to have strong boundaries and reasonable expectations but logically thinking it can't be an expectation unless it is something we have both agreed to in advance.
Maybe it would be worthwhile talking to him about ways to meet that need, if and when it comes up?
@scout86 you are right I do need to discuss this with him. I am thinking that I may ask him to postpone our starting CPT for a week as I have the opportunity to meet with him face to face not telehealth for our session next week for the first time since early April. I am not sure when I will be able to have another inperson session with him as even though we will both be in the same state again starting next week for the foreseeable future I will be living and working a two hour drive away and my two options are to either do telehealth with him or attempt to find a T or go back to my old T (I will be back in that area) so that I can have inperson sessions. For right now at least my mental health needs me to keep trying to heal and move forward and I think that changing therapists right now even if it is someone I have successfully worked with before means I would be taking several steps backward.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Your feelings are valid as that is how you feel. Doesn't make him insensitive by not reaching out. Makes him boundaired and not imposing on you, or opening up a tricky situation as you and he haven't negoiated this issue.

So I don't think he is being uncaring. I think he is being professional.

Doesn't stop it hurting though. Because you want a sign he cares.

I think bringing this up at your next session will really help. Firstly to exploe your feelings and for him to explain to you his response. And secondly, to come up with a plan together about what would happen next time.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
I have never had a therapist reach out to me in between sessions (well once when I ended the session by slamming my computer shut). But I don’t think therapists are expected to check in between sessions without you initiating first. I guess I can see how yourT might have at least offered a phone check in in lieu of having no openings so somehow he didn’t pick up on your distress. If I ever reach out to my T in distress she will at least suggest a phone check in. Since he didn’t I guess the ball is on your court. Maybe contact him back and ask for one if it would be helpful?

regarding whether to go back to your old therapist. I remember that you had quite a good relationship with him, so might be worth going to one session with him in person again if you are in the same area? From your writings I get the feeling you never properly attached to your current T, but I might also have it completely wrong, so ignore if it doesn’t feel useful.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
So I don't think he is being uncaring. I think he is being professional.
@Movingforward10 the logical part of my brain understands this, but the emotional part well, it isn't so enlightened.
If I ever reach out to my T in distress she will at least suggest a phone check in. Since he didn’t I guess the ball is on your court. Maybe contact him back and ask for one if it would be helpful?
I was able to arrange things as part of my move to potentially see him in person for next weeks session. I emailed him today that unless he has an issue due to covid I would like to meet in person next week and that I want to delay starting the round of CPT we were planning to start so that we can address the issues that have caused a symptom and SI spike this week as well as to discuss the between session issue, so that I wouldn't be waiting for a response I said that unless he had an issue with my requests he did not need to respond and I woujld just see him in person.
From your writings I get the feeling you never properly attached to your current T, but I might also have it completely wrong, so ignore if it doesn’t feel useful.
@mylunareclipse I don't know if I properly attached or not, I know that my attachment to my old T was very different than with my current T but part of that is I have deliberately held back as I was so hurt when therapy terminated due to my move that I never wanted to go through that again. I know that is part of why I am reluctant to talk to my old T again but at the same time I have done a lot of work in 3 years and recognize that I would and can rely less on him as my primary support system.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
I think it’s fine to ask for no response if that’s what you really want.
But if you think leaning on your T would be helpful I think it’s ok to practice asking for help more directly and saying: “ I would like to talk on the phone for few minutes/ would be helpful to” etc. I know that it’s difficult. I have only accepted a phone call offer a handful of times in six years. But, saying you don’t need a response when maybe you want one does not get you brownie points. It’s difficult but it’s important to ask for help when we need it. And recognizing when we need help as well!!
You went from can I have an extra session to I don’t need you to respond to my email. It’s a way to revert back to old scripts Ie I don’t need anyone it’s fine. Sorry for bothering etc.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
You went from can I have an extra session to I don’t need you to respond to my email. It’s a way to revert back to old scripts Ie I don’t need anyone it’s fine. Sorry for bothering etc.
Wow, you hit a nerve on this one, my first thought was that you have no idea what you are talking about, then I realized that you were right, I did just that reverted back to my cognitive distortions including: I am not worth it, I am too needy and I am good enough and I am always wrong. I probably should ask for a phone call, but at this point I will see him on Monday so I feel like "what's the point".
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
It’s fine for this time as long as you are safe! But just keep this in mind for next time.
You are worth it!!
And I say this as someone who does the exact same behavior. It’s so easy to withdraw and say never mind. Most of the time I still do it and a lot of times I don’t recognize I am even really doing it!!! It’s not meant to criticize you in anyway just so much easier to notice when other people are doing it :D
Hope the session next week go well
 

RNrecovery

Learning
It was great to see this thread and see you process this. It is pretty hard to feel hurt then make your way to the other side and commit to talking to him directly. It’s so hard building new relationships. I remember when I started with my current therapist feeling like it would be too much work to have a connection. Im glad I still did it. For me, I needed it to be super slow.

For perspective- I’m the person who would be turned off by a newer therapist reaching out. Gone quit moving right along.

He will appreciate you talking to him. If he doesn’t appreciate it then he’s not worth it.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
Thank you everyone that helped me work through this yesterday. I am hoping that over the next few weeks my life will get back to some semblance of normalcy with me actually be in a new long-term residence (at least I hope long term). I have been second guessing a lot of the decisions that I made in the past 6 months and while I can't change the past, I do know that I need to work on being aware of my tendancy to make life altering decisions when I am in a distressed and emotionally triggered state. Things are going to be a challenge moving forward but I need to do a better job of recognizing when my emotional state is negatively impacting my ability to make informed decisions and ensure that I am taking extra time to work through the positives and negatives before making a decision.
 
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